How Long Do I Have to Wear My Orthodontic Retainer?

The short answer:  forever!  As long as you want to maintain your beautiful new smile, we recommend wearing your retainer at night.  Dr. Droel still wears his, many years after treatment.  The mouth and teeth are constantly growing and changing, even in adults.  The same forces that caused your teeth to be crooked in the first place are still at work.

As soon as your braces come off, you will be fitted with personalized retainers, upper and lower.

Here is the schedule for retainer wear:

First 3 months, wear for 20 hours per day

Next 3 months, wear for 12 hours per day

After 6 months, wear every night during sleep (unless we tell you otherwise).

There is no charge for retainer checks once treatment is done.  We encourage you to come in regularly so we can be sure your smile is the best it can be.  Our patients become our friends, so we are always happy to see you!

During the past winter, we watched a child proudly show us how she had learned to skate backwards–a big accomplishment!  Backwards is a good thing on ice skates, but a bad thing when it comes to your great new smile.  Remember to wear your retainers!


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Orthodontic X-Ray Safety

When are orthodontic x-rays needed?  Answers from Dr. Rodger Droel right here!

We strictly follow the guidelines of the American Dental Association.  The guidelines state that x-rays should be taken only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment.  At your first exam in our office, no x-rays will be taken.  If I determine that x-rays are necessary, I will request copies from your family dentist.  My goal is always to keep x-ray exposure to the minimum necessary for optimal treatment.

Panorex and full mouth x-rays are the most commonly shared x-rays.  Cephalometric x-rays are sometimes needed. If so, we will take Cephalometrics at our office.

Some dentists and orthodontists take many other x-rays, such as Cone Beam CTs. I rarely find them necessary or beneficial for orthodontic treatment.  I prefer to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.

If you would like to read more about dental x-ray safety, please see this recent article from American Dental Association:

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Happy 2013!

2012 ended with a banner season for ice skaters:  the lakes froze smooth as glass, after our big pre-holiday snowfall.  I’ve spent a lot of happy hours skating on our lakes.  Lake of the Isles is especially fine this year.  The City of Minneapolis maintains a huge rink and warming house which is always a colorful scene.  And this year it was (and still is) possible to skate over the entire lake.

There is even a huge regulation-size oval maintained by at least one speedskating enthusiast.  I don’t know whether I more enjoy skating it myself, or watching him fly gracefully around the curves.  I do appreciate the way he fills in big cracks so as to keep the track smooth!

Here’s wishing a happy, healthy and active 2013 to one and all!


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Considering a new orthodontist?

I often see patients in treatment who are moving to our area. Patients also come in because they had previous treatment but need straightening because they have not worn their retainers in years. Others are concerned because the treatments they have begun elsewhere seem to be taking too long.

I also recommend that patients who have already had orthodontic expanders or a Phase I treatment elsewhere consider coming in for a free second or third orthodontic opinion. Although I usually try to avoid expanders or Phase I treatments for young children, I am always happy to speak with parents who have been told that a child is now ready for Phase II or full orthodontic treatment. After all, this is a big decision. It is always a good idea to get additional opinions until you feel really confident about going ahead.

I may be able to offer options you have not considered before. If you would like to read my thoughts about orthodontic treatment for very young children, please see my previous article: “Orthodontic Expander, Phase One Treatment, Braces Twice?” If you just want to discuss your concerns and options with no obligation, you are always welcome in my office.

Of course cost is always a concern. If you decide on treatment at my office, my staff can help you find out what insurance benefits you have.  We can usually match or better whatever your insurance provides.

Our Lino Lakes Office

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When Will I Get My Braces Off?

Your braces will come off when you have achieved the best possible smile for you.  Usually that takes about 18-24 months.

With his years of experience, having treated over 12,000 patients in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dr. Rodger Droel can predict with great accuracy how long your orthodontic treatment will take.  But the amount of time does depend on some unknown factors, including how well you cooperate in your treatment.

How do you cooperate?  It’s pretty easy!  Just keep all your appointments, wear your elastics as directed, and BRUSH YOUR TEETH.  You’ll be showing your very best smile right on schedule.

If for some reason your treatment does take longer than expected, don’t worry.  There will be NO EXTRA CHARGE FOR EXTENDED ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT.  The ALL-INCLUSIVE FEE quoted at the exam will stay the same.

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Happy 4th of July 2012

It was a glorious Fourth in Steamboat Springs, even though the extreme fire danger all over the state meant there were no fireworks of any kind.  Kids could not even have sparklers. But the whole community and a crowd of visitors turned out for the parade, ski jumping (yes, summer ski jumping!) and rodeo.

The parade had a western flavor, complete with horses and dogs:

At Droel Orthodontics, we salute our many patients, friends and family who have served in our country’s armed forces.  We thank them all for protecting our freedom to celebrate this grand American holiday!

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Street Rods and Straight Teeth

This year in June I got to spend as much time as I wanted at the Back to the Fifties 2012 Weekend at the State Fairgrounds.  Why? Because I brought two of my little granddaughters!  Who knew that little girls like street rods?  Of course their favorites were the ones in any shade of pink. And for lunch, nothing could be better than two happy little girls enjoying a PB & J served in a car.


I think I finally convinced my wife that customizing vintage cars is a form of art.  It can take the form of Art Deco Sculpture in a hood ornament:


Or it can take the form of ordinary materials used in creative ways:


Equipped with lots of sunscreen and a couple of sturdy strollers for tired little feet, we all had a great day admiring about 11,000 unique vehicles, each one as colorful and individual as its owner.

I think of orthodontics as an art, too.  My aim is always to respect the individuality of each patient.  A lot of people come in to the office and say they do not want to end up with “orthodontic mouth” or “Chiclet teeth.” I know exactly what they mean.  They do not want to end up with standardized-looking teeth.  No two faces are the same, and no two smiles are the same.  In our office, we strive to make each smile look completely natural and as unique as its owner.

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Orthodontic Treatment Network? “Preferred Providers in Minneapolis/St. Paul?”

Do you have a list of “preferred providers” of orthodontic care in Minneapolis/St. Paul?  Although Droel Orthodontics may not be on your Preferred Provider list, we work with ALL insurance.  When you come in for your FREE INITIAL ORTHODONTIC EXAM, just bring your insurance information.  We will try to match or even better what your insurance provides.

Often patients are quoted a fee that seems low until the add-ons begin.  The fee you are quoted in our office will be all-inclusive, so there will be no hidden costs to worry about.  Even if your treatment takes longer than expected, or the treatment plan changes, the fee you are quoted at the beginning of treatment will remain the same.

We can help you navigate the often-complicated insurance maze.  We can help you obtain the best possible orthodontic treatment at the best possible cost.

Dr. Rodger Droel

651-633-8191 or 763-862-2345

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Who Will Do My Orthodontic Adjustments?

At Dr. Rodger Droel’s office, you will see Dr. Droel at each appointment.  He will personally check your progress and make precise individual adjustments depending on your particular treatment.

If you have a broken wire or some other problem on a day when the office is not open, one of his trained dental assistants (available at all times through his office emergency number) may arrange to meet you at the office.  In that case, the assistant will schedule an appointment for you with Dr. Droel if special follow-up is needed.

When Dr. Droel is not in his office this spring and summer, he will probably be out on his newest pair of inline skates.  Lake Calhoun, anyone?

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Snowboard Heaven: 27 Inches of Champagne Powder

President’s Day 2012 in Steamboat Springs:  me, my snowboard and almost too much snow!  My wife and I woke up early and checked the snow report. We thought we were still dreaming:  27 inches of champagne powder had fallen overnight, and it was still snowing!  We were on the mountain extra-early (OK, maybe just this once we skipped brushing our teeth before we rushed out the door). Riding the first lift up, we cheered as an ecstatic skier made perfect turns in chest-deep powder down the steep pitch below us.

When we got off the lift at the top, for just a moment we almost wished we were on skis, just to have poles. By that time, we were in at least 30 inches of snow.  Although it was light and fluffy, it was hard going on the flats. We managed to move by following someone else’s track until we reached the top of High Noon. We stayed in the fall line, turning just enough to stay in control. But there was no controlling the whoops of delight as the snow actually flew over our heads when we hit drifts. The guy with the silly grin? That’s me.

The only problem, if something so much fun could be a problem, was getting up when we fell.  We learned to stay on our feet at all costs. A worst-case all-out tumble involved a combination of digging, wallowing, and generally floundering until we could get on our feet again.  What a day!  And for days afterward, there were still fresh powder stashes in the trees.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with orthodontics? I could say something like “Follow a good track of brushing, flossing, and wearing your elastics.”.  But what I really want to say is that you never know when you’ll have a once-in-a lifetime day. So my best advice is, “Dude, just go for it!”

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